128. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Bolivia1

177348. Subject: Bolivian Election Fraud

1. In view your description of serious deterioration in election processes, including likelihood of fraudulent presidential vote count,2 it is important that the consequences of current course be understood by the Bolivians. We would like to press to reverse any intention of “stealing” the election and find a way to correct the handling of the vote counting. You are authorized confidentially convey following message at highest levels you deem it useful and effective to do so.

2. Message is that US Government is very seriously concerned over the possibility that the presidential vote count will not be an honest one and will not reflect a true election. Such fraud will definitely be perceived in the US and in other countries as backsliding on pledged return to democratic process and as a violation of the human rights question of civil and political liberties, which would under our policy require an adjustment in our assistance relationship. Unless corrected, such a course of action on part of GOB will clearly have an effect on all our relations, and will force us to review the whole gamut of them. This is an important time in our relationship; and we can either go forward or backward. We would like to have closer cooperation but this will not be possible in the face of a fraudulent electoral process. You should note also that international acceptance of the electoral results will be diminished if the present course continues.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840172-2811. Secret; Flash; Nodis. Drafted by Barnebey; cleared by Bushnell and in S/S; approved by Vaky.
  2. In telegram 5496 from La Paz, July 12, the Embassy reported on “widespread irregularities on election day, July 9.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780289-0516) In telegram 5533 from La Paz, July 13, the Embassy reported that the Electoral Court was “unable to sort out the fraudulent returns with which the court is confronted.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780287-1140)